- Recently global temperatures hit record high three days in a row — and more hot days are coming.
- Air conditioning is great, but scientists have also identified more unconventional ways to stay cool.
- Here are 5 counterintuitive hacks to help beat the summer heat.
Staying cool in hot temperatures is essential to prevent heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
Insider has previously reported some cheap and effective ways to beat the heat, including applying cold water to areas like your wrists and ankles, and wearing loose, breathable clothing.
But there are other science-backed ways to stay cold as well — even though some may seem strange or counterintuitive. Here are 5 nifty tricks that can help you stay cooler throughout your day and at night.
1. Use menthol
Menthol, the naturally oc curing chemical found in peppermint oil, has been shown to reduce how we hot feel. Researchers believe that menthol activates specialized receptors in our skin cells and in our mouths designed to sense cold temperatures, making us feel cooler.
Athletes desperate to cool down have clambered toward menthol products, like peppermint tea, Vicks VapoRub, Hall’s peppermint cough drops, reported the Washington Post. The trick only works for short bursts — about 15 minutes —but it is an affordable way to get a quick hit of coolness.
2. Avoid sugary, heavy meals
Who doesn’t love ice cream on a hot day? Unfortunately, it might be one of the foods that can make you hotter.
“Sugar would run your metabolism up and you’d start feeling internally hot,” Wendell Porter, a senior lecturer emeritus in agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida told CNN, “So the cool treat might be good, but the extra sugar might not.”
The CDC also recommends avoiding hot and heavy meals, which can add heat to your body.
3. Drink hot tea
If you live somewhere where it is hot and dry, drinking hot tea may help you keep your cool. The reason why this counterintuitive idea works is because drinking hot tea can help you sweat, allowing your body to cool itself, according to a 2012 study.
This works if the amount you sweat is greater than the temperature increase from drinking the tea, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The caveat, however, is that the sweat actually has to evaporate to have a cooling effect. If you live in a humid environment, drinking hot tea won’t help because your sweat won’t evaporate effectively in the muggy air.
4. Take a warm shower or bath before bed
A warm shower or bath on a hot day may help you sleep more soundly, even on a hot day. Warm water can trigger physical changes that lower your core temperature, thereby making you feel cooler and helping you drift off to sleep.
5. Sleep under a separate blanket from your bedfellow
Though it’s more common in Europe than it is in the US, sleeping with a separate blanket from your partner could help you sleep better, especially during hot summer nights. Having separate blankets or even separate sheets help keep your partner’s body heat away from you, and can help keep you cool.
Although dabbling in some alternative cool down methods might be fun, it’s important to recognize when heat-induced discomfort escalates. A body temperature above 103°F, a fast strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or is loss of consciousness are all symptoms of heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.
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